Shiny Happy People

I did a double take near Riggins, Idaho, as I was travelling north a month ago.  I had to come back and record this sign:


Yes, a “sign” it is indeed. But not nearly as signerific as the one on their website.

Do you suppose their Sunday Services are uplifting?


Boots and Britches: A County Fair Update

boots and britches

So my eldest daughter did a fine turn in the queening contest during the county fair.  Excellent horsemanship and speech delivery, and she looked beautiful in her various outfits of glitter and fringe, the two most common accessories for RQ wannabes.  Here are some highlights:


queen contestants

rodeo queen2
OOOOOPPPS! How’d that get there?


As it turned out, Necia didn’t place in the contest.  However, she had a great time, learned a lot, and plans on competing again next year.  We were very proud!

We were also proud of the pile of ribbons our family brought home from the fair.  Missy and Kiwi brought home many awards in their 4-H competitions, including a first-place embroidered saddle blanket Missy won in Western Reining (it’s the blue one visible in the first photo).  I got blue ribbons for the two quilts I entered, and Kiwi got a blue ribbon for her pencil drawing of an elf. Here is Kiwi with her Grandpa and her horse, Dea, and one of her ribbons:


Our little county fair gets fewer and fewer entries every year, it seems.  I heard one display manager lament to another, “This is the worst year yet!”  Part of it is that some artists like to compete in Boise’s Western Idaho Fair instead, which is much larger and has more competition.  But I think another aspect is the fading heritage of the county fair:  as more orchards and farmland get gobbled up for subdivisions for people who work (and usually shop and socialize) in Boise, the fair becomes less an end-of-summer gathering celebration and more of a rural oddity.  Unfortunate,  since an Idaho county fair must have rockin’ displays like these from the Spud contest:




One of my favorite displays, however, was this unintentional one in the calf barn, highlighting the long, hot days of fairgoing:


Until next year!

I Had a Dream . . .

I’ve been homeschooling for nearly 11 years now.  My standard answer to anyone asking,”How long do you plan on homeschooling?” has been “As long as it works.”  Well, it stopped working.

I’m putting G (1st grade) and LouLou (3rd grade) in school full-time this year.  I’m not in a place right now where I can do it all: homeschool a high schooler, a junior-high schooler, a needy gradeschooler, two emerging readers, and keep the fearless Madame Chaos supervised, while upholding the mere basics of family nutrition, cleanliness enough to keep Social Services away, study for my Sunday School calling, manage the weeds . . . . . .  Well, I could, I suppose, if I were willing to continue to neglect my self, but I feel like I’m disappearing.  Mom, Wife, and Teacher have overshadowed Nikki, and she’s hungry for some sunlight and fresh air. 

Happily, G has been begging to go to school for some time (he wants BOYS!!), so he is looking forward to it.  LouLou is more reluctant, but the neighbor girl she loves will be in her class, so she’s okay with it.  Kiwi will take band and math at the junior high, and Missy will take band, varsity choir, seminary, speech, and (college-credit!) trig at the high school.  We’ll continue at home with their English, foreign language, science, and history, and with Dee’s preschool skills.  It’s still plenty to fill my days, but I’m looking forward to having more time for lunch with friends, reading books, quilting, and photography.  Ideally, I’d like to take some classes myself, and plan on enrolling in the Master Gardener course this coming spring.

 In some ways, I feel like I’ve failed, but mostly I find myself strangely giddy about putting two kids on the bus every morning. 

No Wonder I Can’t Get Anything Done.

I don’t even exist.

 Apparently, it has been a well-known fact since 1992 that the “state” of “Idaho” is a long-perpetrated hoax:

Idaho is a myth!

“I’m Gonna Leave Your Carcass On The Road!”

My Lil’ Sis and I gleefully assert the above statement when we get together to play Carcassonne, our favorite game.  While it is not a violent game by any means, we get a bizarre joy out of repeating the same old puns and inside jokes to each other as we play, ideally with both of our games put together, with expansions, for a marathon round.  And, since we have twelve kids between us, we have to hide the Peanut M&Ms in the box, drawing them out furtively when no little people appear to be looking:

 (which reminds me–false ad alert regarding M&Ms:  they most certainly DO melt in your hand, especially while you are waiting for the four-year-olds to clear out so you can consume candy unmolested).

During our week together, Kris and I fit in as many games as we could, throwing food at the kids when they needed it and letting the house go to pot.  We spent one afternoon at Empyre Games and Manga in Boise, training the new manager on some of the non-role-playing games; we taught him Carcassonne (sans expansions), Ticket to Ride, Blokus, Chekov, and Hocus Focus.  We didn’t have time for Settlers of Catan (another favorite), but I’ll partner up with someone else next week to teach him that one.  He didn’t think us as hilarious as we thought ourselves to be, but we had a great time anyway.

I’m a sucker for the tactile nature of game pieces; I remember being fascinated by the little buckets and plastic cherries of Hi-Ho-Cherry-O as a kid, followed by Monopoly tokens, Risk armies, Life cars, Battleship fleets, and Mastermind pegs. Part of the reason I enjoy learning new games is so that I can handle pieces like the Tetris-y acrylic colored squares of Blokus:


While I tend to like games that take about an hour to play (Carcassonne, Settlers, Acquire), I also enjoy the rare opportunity to play Empire Builder, a train game that takes my sister, brother, and me about five hours to play.  With my kids, I generally choose the shorter ones like Blokus, Ticket To Ride, Hocus Focus, and Set that don’t require reading and don’t give much if any advantage to an older player.  It gets me pretty riled when they let game pieces get scattered, so we don’t play as often as they’d like, and only when I can concentrate, which usually means only if Madame Chaos is in bed or can be policed by someone.  It always makes me feel like a Good Mom when I play games with them, so I suppose I oughta do it more often.

But there’s still no better combo than Lil’ Sis, Peanut M&Ms, Diet Cherry Pepsi, and double Carcassonne.